2019 is nearly here! The world gets ready to see in the new year

2019 is nearly here! The world gets ready to see in the new year

The world welcomes 2019: Hong Kong sees in the New Year, following North Korea, Australia and New Zealand as celebrations spread around the globe and other countries countdown to midnightParty atmosphere to sweep across cities in Asia, Europe, Africa and Americas as the clock ticks past midnightFireworks counted down to midnight above the North Korean…


The world welcomes 2019: Hong Kong sees in the New Year, following North Korea, Australia and New Zealand as celebrations spread around the globe and other countries countdown to midnight

  • Party atmosphere to sweep across cities in Asia, Europe, Africa and Americas as the clock ticks past midnight
  • Fireworks counted down to midnight above the North Korean capital of Pyongyang on New Year’s Eve
  • Record amount of pyrotechnics were used during a dazzling fireworks display in Sydney, Australia
  • Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia and New Zealand have also welcomed 2019 with fireworks displays 
  • London will usher in the New Year by celebrating its relationship with Europe amid turmoil over Brexit 

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Hong Kong, Sydney, Auckland and even North Korea’s capital Pyongyang have all held extravagant celebrations to make sure 2019 arrived with a bang.

Festive lights decorated Hong Kong’s iconic skyscrapers as they provided the backdrop for a fireworks, music and light show over Victoria Harbor where some 300,000 people had gathered on New Year’s Eve.

New Year’s Eve is not widely celebrated in mainland China, where the lunar New Year in February is a more important holiday, but countdown events were being held in most major cities, including Beijing and Shanghai. 

Earlier today, thousands filled a main square in Pyongyang, North Korea, where dictator Kim Jong-un appears to have spared no expense to ring in the new year as footage shows fireworks in the shape of digits being launched into the sky to count down to midnight.

North Korea and Japan joined Australia and New Zealand in welcoming 2019, where millions gathered to watch spectacular firework displays in cities like Sydney and Auckland. 

The party atmosphere is now set to sweep across major cities in Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas as the world celebrates a new year.  

HONG KONG: The Chinese autonomous territory held a fireworks and light show above the Victoria Harbor

HONG KONG: The Chinese autonomous territory held a fireworks and light show above the Victoria Harbor

HONG KONG: New Year’s Eve is not celebrated that widely in mainland China but in many major cities, including Hong Kong, it is a major event

HONG KONG: Fireworks explode over the Victoria Harbor during New Year's Eve to celebrate the start of year 2019 

HONG KONG: Fireworks explode over the Victoria Harbor during New Year’s Eve to celebrate the start of year 2019 

The North Korean dictator is expected to give his annual address tot he nation later on New Year’s Day, during which he is set to lay out the country’s priorities for the year ahead. 

The speech is often the best gauge of what the North Korean leadership is focused on and what tone it will take in its dealings with the outside world. 

In his New Year’s speech this past year, Kim proposed talks with South Korea to reduce tensions and said the North would be willing to participate in South Korea’s Winter Olympics, setting off a series of summits with the South and the U.S.

SINGAPORE: Fireworks explode over the Marina Bay at the stroke of midnight in Singapore

SINGAPORE: This year, Singapore will celebrate the 2nd centenary of its founding by Sir Stamford Raffles in 1819

SINGAPORE: The island city-state off southern Malaysia celebrated well and proper when the clock struck 12

SINGAPORE: The island city-state off southern Malaysia celebrated well and proper when the clock struck 12

epa07255488 Fireworks illuminate the night sky over the Petronas Towers landmark during New Year's Day celebrations in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 01 January 2019.  EPA/FAZRY ISMAIL

KUALA LUMPUR: Fireworks illuminate the night sky over the Petronas Towers landmark in the Malaysian capital

KUALA LUMPUR:  The sky above Kuala Lumpur is turned red  with sparks from a spectacular midnight display

KUALA LUMPUR:  The sky above Kuala Lumpur is turned red  with sparks from a spectacular midnight display

PYONGYANG: Fireworks go off above the main square in the city of Pyongyang in North Korea

PYONGYANG: Fireworks go off above the main square in the city of Pyongyang in North Korea

PYONGYANG: The fireworks display put on by dictator Kim Jong-un’s regime featured a countdown in the sky, using Arabic numerals rather than Korean

PYONGYANG: Video footage shows a huge crowd having gathered in a square in the centre of the North Korean capital

PYONGYANG: Video footage shows a huge crowd having gathered in a square in the centre of the North Korean capital

GANGNEUNG: Fireworks illuminate the sky over the Jeongdongjin beach in Gangneung, Ganwon-province, South Korea, during an event to celebrate the New Year

GANGNEUNG: Fireworks illuminate the sky over the Jeongdongjin beach in Gangneung, Ganwon-province, South Korea, during an event to celebrate the New Year

A few hours earlier, midnight struck in Sydney, Australia, which was celebrated with a firework show above its famous harbour featuring a record-breaking 100,000 pyrotechnic effects.

The incredible spectacle culminated at midnight with the late Aretha Franklin’s ‘(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman’ being played out over the harbour.   

People had begun gathering early in the day at popular vantage points, including the Opera House and the ends of the Harbor Bridge, and tens of thousands ended up drenched in a thunderstorm in the early evening. 

The rain had dried up by 9pm local time, when Sydney’s traditional family-friendly fireworks spectacle turned the city’s gloomy skies into a kaleidoscope of colour. 

SYDNEY: Fireworks explode over the Sydney Harbour during New Year's Eve celebrations to welcome 2019 

SYDNEY: Fireworks explode over the Sydney Harbour during New Year’s Eve celebrations to welcome 2019 

SYDNEY: People began gathering early in the day at popular vantage points, including the Opera House and the ends of the Harbor Bridge

SYDNEY: People began gathering early in the day at popular vantage points, including the Opera House and the ends of the Harbor Bridge

SYDNEY: The sky above Australia’s most populated city was lit up by fireworks in all the colours of the rainbow

SYDNEY: The Sydney fireworks show featured more than 100,000 pyrotechnic effects accompanied by music 

SYDNEY: The Sydney fireworks show featured more than 100,000 pyrotechnic effects accompanied by music 

In Melbourne, 14 tons of fireworks deployed on the ground and on roofs of 22 buildings produced special effects including flying dragons. 

In Brisbane, an estimated 85,000 people watched as fireworks exploded from five barges moored on the Brisbane River. 

In Britain, London will usher in the New Year by celebrating its relationship with Europe amid turmoil over Brexit  with the fireworks display at the London Eye to feature music from the continent’s artists.  

A strong police presence has become a key element of the festivities, to protect crowds that could be targeted in terror and vehicle attacks.

SYDNEY: As the clock struck midnight in the Australian city, locals and visitors alike were treated to a spectacular display

SYDNEY: The fireworks display culminated at midnight with '(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman' being played 

SYDNEY: The fireworks display culminated at midnight with ‘(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman’ being played 

SYDNEY: Some revellers in central Sydney barely made it into 2019 before it was time to go home

Fireworks were launched from the tops of 22 buildings in Melbourne's CBD as part of the city's New Year's Eve celebrations

Fireworks were launched from the tops of 22 buildings in Melbourne’s CBD as part of the city’s New Year’s Eve celebrations

About 350,000 descended on Melbourne's CBD to witness the Victorian city's fireworks spectacle 

About 350,000 descended on Melbourne’s CBD to witness the Victorian city’s fireworks spectacle 

Here are some of the plans for city’s around the world: 

Hong Kong:Glittering fireworks will be sent skyward from five barges floating in Victoria Harbour in a 10-minute display watched by 300,000 people on the shore.

Jakarta:Hundreds of couples will tie the knot in a free mass wedding, as those in the tsunami-hit Banten province, where affected towns were popular holiday destinations, have been told to cancel party plans to show respect for the victims.

Tokyo:Japanese will flock to temples to ring in the New Year, while US boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr will take on local kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa in a bout staged outside Tokyo.

Moscow:Concerts and light shows will be held across the city’s parks and more than 1,000 ice rinks have been opened for merrymakers.

Paris:A fireworks display and sound and light show under the theme ‘fraternity’ is set to go ahead on the Champs-Elysees despite plans for further ‘yellow vest’ anti-government protests at the famed avenue.

Berlin:Music lovers will party at a concert at the Brandenburg Gate, but a popular German tradition of setting off fireworks to mark the occasion has been banned in some other cities over safety concerns.

London:Britain’s capital will usher in the New Year by celebrating its relationship with Europe amid turmoil over the Brexit referendum vote to leave the EU, with the fireworks display at the London Eye to feature music from the continent’s artists.

Edinburgh:The Scottish capital’s traditional Hogmanay celebrations will also take on a pro-European theme ahead of the year in which Britain is due to exit the union. 

AUCKLAND: The New Zealand harbour town was the first major city in the world to see in 2019

Fireworks explode from the Sky Tower during Auckland's New Year's Eve celebrations

AUCKLAND: Fireworks explode from the Sky Tower during New Year’s Eve celebrations in New Zealand’s largest city

AUCKLAND: New Zealand has celebrated the New Year with thousands watching a spectacular firework display in Auckland

AUCKLAND: New Zealand has celebrated the New Year with thousands watching a spectacular firework display in Auckland

AUCKLAND: The sky was lit up with colour as the clock struck midnight in New Zealand. The party atmosphere is now set to sweep across major cities in Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas

AUCKLAND: The sky was lit up with colour as the clock struck midnight in New Zealand. The party atmosphere is now set to sweep across major cities in Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas

As the world parties, many will also look forward to 2019 and wonder whether the turmoil witnessed during the previous year will spill over into the next.

The political wrangling in Westminster over Brexit was one of the key stories of this year, with a resolution yet to be reached ahead of the scheduled March 29 departure.

US President Donald Trump dominated headlines in 2018 as he ramped up his trade war with China, quit the Iran nuclear deal, moved the American embassy to Jerusalem and met his North Korean counterpart Kim Jong Un in Singapore for a historic summit.

LONDON: The British capital will usher in 2019 by celebrating its relationship with Europe amid turmoil over Brexit, with the display at the London Eye to feature music from the continent's artists. This was the spectacular display in London last year

LONDON: The British capital will usher in 2019 by celebrating its relationship with Europe amid turmoil over Brexit, with the display at the London Eye to feature music from the continent’s artists. This was the spectacular display in London last year

North Korea’s commitment to denuclearisation will remain a major political and security issue into next year, as will Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s reassertion of control after Trump’s shock military withdrawal announcement.

The war in Yemen, which started in 2014 and has already killed about 10,000 people and left some 20 million at risk of starvation, could take a crucial turn after a ceasefire went into effect in mid-December.

Numerous countries go to the polls in 2019, with key elections in India, Afghanistan, Indonesia, South Africa, Argentina and Australia.

Major sporting events on the calendar include the Rugby World Cup in Japan, the cricket one-day international World Cup in England and the athletics World Championships in Qatar. 

Fireworks and lights were seen illuminating the night sky at Taipie 101 skyscraper in Taiwan as spectators welcomed in the New Year

Fireworks and lights were seen illuminating the night sky at Taipie 101 skyscraper in Taiwan as spectators welcomed in the New Year

Hundreds of spectators were seen getting out their mobile phones to take a picture of the colourful fireworks display in Taiwan

Hundreds of spectators were seen getting out their mobile phones to take a picture of the colourful fireworks display in Taiwan

A spectrum of colours filled the night sky as fireworks erupted from the Taipei 101 skyscraper during the New Years celebrations in Taiwan

A spectrum of colours filled the night sky as fireworks erupted from the Taipei 101 skyscraper during the New Years celebrations in Taiwan

An art installation with 2019 illuminated balloons was seen in front of the Presidential Office Building in Taipei, Taiwan to welcome in the new year

An art installation with 2019 illuminated balloons was seen in front of the Presidential Office Building in Taipei, Taiwan to welcome in the new year

In Thailand fireworks were seen erupting over Chao Phraya River during the annual New Year celebrations in Bangkok

In Thailand fireworks were seen erupting over Chao Phraya River during the annual New Year celebrations in Bangkok

Fireworks illuminated the night sky in Bangkok, Thailand, as the country celebrated the start of the new year

Fireworks illuminated the night sky in Bangkok, Thailand, as the country celebrated the start of the new year

AUSTRALIA: Spectators at Sydney's Harbour Bridge were greeted with an array of colours as fireworks erupted into the sky  

AUSTRALIA: Spectators at Sydney’s Harbour Bridge were greeted with an array of colours as fireworks erupted into the sky  

AUSTRALIA: As the clock struck midnight fireworks exploded over Sydney's iconic Harbour Bridge and Opera House

AUSTRALIA: As the clock struck midnight fireworks exploded over Sydney’s iconic Harbour Bridge and Opera House

Pope Francis celebrated First Vespers and a 'Te Deum' prayer during the rite of thanksgiving for the end of the year, in Saint Peter's Basilica, Vatican City

Pope Francis celebrated First Vespers and a ‘Te Deum’ prayer during the rite of thanksgiving for the end of the year, in Saint Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City

Pope Francis was seen arriving to visit a nativity scene after celebrating a New Year's eve vespers Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican

Pope Francis was seen arriving to visit a nativity scene after celebrating a New Year’s eve vespers Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican

After the First Vespers and 'Te Deum' prayer Pope Francis met with crowds of people in Vatican City and welcomed in the new year

After the First Vespers and ‘Te Deum’ prayer Pope Francis met with crowds of people in Vatican City and welcomed in the new year

INDONESIA: An explosion of fireworks illuminate the sky in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, as crowds of people welcome in the new year

INDONESIA: An explosion of fireworks illuminate the sky in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, as crowds of people welcome in the new year

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New Year’s Eve 2018: Australia celebrates as world gets ready to see in 2019

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